The beam reflects off any objects, including people. The data is then decoded to create a 3D model of everything in the area. "Perhaps most importantly, we demonstrated for the first time that a holographic recording of a live person can be achieved even while the body is moving," Ferraro said.
The team plans to make a device that houses both the laser and the holographic camera, allowing the system to be fixed as a single unit inside buildings.
In this video from New Scientist, you can see how an infrared camera fails to capture a person blocked by flames because it relies on a lens to produce an image. The holographic view, shown on the right, reproduces the obscured action by shining infrared laser light at it.